Heralded by the cheesy tunes of Christmas past, the festive season is almost upon us.

Before we hit December and the full onslaught of glitter, gltiz and sparkle becomes inescapable, take the weekend off.

Embrace the spirit of Christmas, do something nice, surround yourself with loved ones, enjoy an activity you love.

There’s plenty of ways to feel festive and fabulous without hurtling round the Black Friday sales. Relax and ease yourself gently into the season…

Go for a long walk

Wrapping up warm and stomping around the countryside is the perfect Winter activity and a great way to dodge the madness of Black Friday. Guaranteed to clear the mind and blow away the cobwebs, pack a flask and gather your clan then get outdoors.

If you find yourself planning other wholesome adventures for the month ahead, even better. Stopping for a pint, in a cosy pub with a log fire, essential.

Declutter something

Clear out a drawer, wardrobe or full room (depending how energetic you’re feeling). Sorting stuff is a fabulous way to boost your well-being and make you feel smug. It’s also a handy way to make room for all the presents that Father Christmas will bring.

Extra brownie points for donating your unwanted goods to a charity shop or local shelter.

Plan a reserve advent calendar

Instead of opening a box every day of advent, with a reverse calendar you place one item into a box every day. Toothpaste, a tin of beans, a tube of Jaffa cakes, a box of fancy chocolates, a pair of gloves etc etc. After three weeks, you’ll have a box full of non-perishable goodies to donate to those in need this Christmas.

This weekend you could local food bank / shelter to ask when/where they are receiving donations and ask there’s anything they’re particularly short of. Get a box and wrap with festive paper then pack away as the season moves forward.

Catch up with a loved one

Sounds obvious, but it’s the time of year when must-do often overshadows the want-to-do. Meet a friend for a coffee, take walk around the park or gossip over cheeky glass of wine. Pop to your mum’s for a cuppa and catch up.

Or have a proper date with your significant other. Not talking candlelit meals here, just a few hours off the mundane – no household musts, no planning Christmas, no work catch ups. Just a proper chat. Put the next one in the diary too.

Making lists

Making a list and checking it twice is not just for Santa. A great way to feel organised and focused, find an hour, grab your favourite notebook and think about everything you really want to do this December.

Write a list of people you don’t see enough and make firm plans to call them or write long Christmas cards; write a list of activities you love to do and diary in as many of these as you can over the next month. Write a list of yummy dishes you want to make over the break. List who you want to buy for and what they’d absolutely love to save panic buying and mid-season madness. The list is endless (!)

Slow cooking

One for the kitchen lovers. Flick through your recipe books and find something new and mouthwatering to cook from scratch then spend the day grabbing ingredients from local markets or farm shops and take your time preparing it.

Failing that, spend an hour writing a list of things you’d like to make this season and diary time to make it happen more tips here. Good for the soul!

 Read a book

Stealing a couple of hours to immerse yourself in a book is a true luxury – but shouldn’t be! If you’ve a pile of paperbacks waiting to be read, then grab a blanket, snuggle up on your favourite chair and indulge.

Add candles, a mug of something delicious and a fat piece of cake to fill the hygge requirement of the season. Or take it with you for a hot bubble bath, and lock the door. Total lux.

Cosy up

A movie marathon or binge on your favourite box set is the ultimate treat – and if it’s raining or chilly outside, then you have the perfect excuse to stay indoors all day.

And oh, that feeling when you discover a new show, with 5 seasons already on Netflix, and the whole day ahead of you… Ahhh! Get plenty of snacks in (cinema style popcorn, nachos, pick n mix?) then get your feet up, snuggle on the sofa and embrace the sloth!

Switch off

If you can bear to turn off the phone / tablet / laptop while doing any or all of the above, do it. Even a couple of hours off tech is better than nothing so you know you’ll be uninterrupted and fully focused on the fun.

Make this season all about connecting, properly, with the people and the things you love. And you can always instagram the photos on Monday morning.

Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend! x